Monthly #87 - High Contrast Competition

Competition Details
Closing Date: 30/09/2019
Judge: MikeInDevon

I want to see your ’High Contrast’ images, this can be in the form of a B&W or a Colour image. The photograph can be of a naturally high contrast subject or post processed to that effect, or any mixture of the two. Some explanation of the technique(s) you use would be appreciated.

Photographs must be taken during September 2019 with a Pentax or accepted clone.

The competition closes at midnight UTC Monday, 30th September 2019.

The full usual rules for monthly competitions can be found at:

Best of luck, show me your imagination, I'm eager to seeing your entries.
Competition Entries


Link Posted 02/10/2019 - 20:12
Firstly I must say many thanks for taking the time to create these images for me.

It’s been really interesting studying them all, but first what does High Contrast mean:

In a ‘High Contrast Image’ the image emphasises the bright and dark areas, it’s easiest to see this using an image histogram tool. A ‘normal’ contrast photograph has shadows as well as highlights but they are less extreme with the mid tone area of the histogram also well represented. In a High Contrast photo the mid tone region is noticeably less well represented, this happen either by the very nature of the scene photographed and/or by post processing.

Now the tricky job of comments and judging.

Fleetwith Pike from the Western Shore of Lake Buttermere by newbiek50user
This is a most beautiful image of the Lake District, the modest telephoto focal length used has worked very well. Looking at a histogram of the image shows that it covers the entire dark to bright range with a very even spread. Also there is very little clipping of shadows or highlights, a tribute to the K1 sensor’s dynamic range. I would say the style of this image is better described as a Full Dynamic Range image than a High Contrast image.

Contre-Jour Begonias by GlynM
Thank you for giving me details of the efforts you took to create this image, the result is beautifully sharp and colourful. It’s generally thought that it’s harder to make colour ‘High Contrast’ images than B&W, I think that you have been pretty successful. The dark area is a solid black, I’d be interested to know if there was any shadow detail that could have been hinted at or if this was a deliberate choice.

Dahlia by PRYorkshire
Another bold and sharp colour image though I think it would have been worth pushing the mid tones towards the highlights more and make it a ‘full on’ High Contrast image.

Wild Horses by Perspicador
This image’s contrast looks rather dull to me and its histogram confirms that it is of limited tonal range. So I’d say its style is Low Contrast rather than High Contrast image.

2 Bee or not to be by Benz3ne
The histogram of this image shows tones covering from Blacks to Highlights with a general increasing trend, so again I’d say this is a Full Dynamic range style image. The image is very sharp in the focus plane that includes the Bees, but I find the blurred central part of the flower rather distracting. Possibly a much smaller aperture choice would be sufficient to reduce this blurriness.

Corny Sunset by Nigelk
This looks pretty High Contrast to me and the Histogram supports this. In fact I think you could have done a bit more of pushing the Midtones towards the Highlight end and the Shadow tones towards the Black end.

Gnu by Noelcmn
There is absolutely no doubt about this striking image being a High Contrast image! Looking at its Histogram shows it is an extreme case, maybe even a little too much!

Xerox by Simonmac
Wow this is a very strong image, shooting into the sun is pretty much guaranteed to give a naturally High Contrast image. The Histogram shows strong peaking towards the Blacks and Highlight ends but visually there are enough Midtones and Shadows to still give interesting textures.

Now for my winners:

First place goes to Xerox by Simonmac
Second place goes to Corny Sunset by Nigelk
Joint third place goes to Contre-jour Begonias by GlynM and Gnu by Noelcmn

With HM to:
Dahlia by PRYorkshire

Plus I can’t leave it without a special mention to newbiek50user for the most beautiful image.

So now it’s over to you Simonmac to set and judge the next monthly competition.

Cheers to you all



Link Posted 02/10/2019 - 21:21
Thank you so much Mike for the competition and your thoughtful comments.

It's heartening to be amongst such good photographic company.

I had better get my thinking cap on!

All the best



Link Posted 02/10/2019 - 22:24
I thought the requirement was for high contrast subject matter such as something thorny contrasting with something smooth.
John K


Link Posted 03/10/2019 - 10:49
Many thanks for such an interesting challenge.

Thanks also for the joint 3rd place. In answer to your question there was a little faint shadow detail in the upper background of my shot which I felt, for a flower shot, was a bit distracting so I reinforced the blacks to remove it.

Congratulations to Simon the well deserved win, my fellow runners-up and everyone else for rising to the challenge with a great set of images.



Link Posted 10/10/2019 - 13:28
Congrats Simon, love that photo. Lovely control of that bright light. And extended to NIgel and Glyn, my fellow 3rd placed winner and not forgetting the HM PRYorkshire. Thanks due to Mike for an interesting challenge, the C&C and judging exercise. And concur with you about that lovely image from newbiek50user.
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